By: Tuesday and Friday
Senior POY Ryan Milliken scored 23 points to lead Lebanon to their first basketball state title since 1998. The accomplished senior played all 32 minutes and did everything in this game to ensure the Raiders captured the championship plaque.
Milliken not only stirs the Lebanon drink, but he is also the ice cubes, the ingredients and the glass that holds everything in Lebanon boys’ basketball.
Coe-Brown kept the game close at halftime as they were led by Brody Ashley with 8 points in the first half. For Coe-Brown this was a problem as junior whirling dervish Scott Spenard was held to 4 points at half. Lebanon senior Graham Chickering deserves credit for Spenard’s lack of offense. The slithery Chickering made Spenard work for everything on offense. Chickering took away Spenard’s slashes to the hoop. He also gave him no space to launch his 3’s. Spenard finished with 6 points and Chickering deserves all the credit for this.
Lebanon’s defense clamped down on CB in the 4th quarter holding them to 13 points while they exploded for 25 points to walk away with the title. 6’4 junior Chris Nulty came up big for Lebanon in the 2nd half scoring 10 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. Nulty always did something positive when he was on the court and Coe-Brown didn’t have an answer for him.
Milliken said about Nulty, “He’s tall and a great finisher.” Coach Keith Matte added, “Nulty is a really good player.”
Coach Matte was bittersweet happy after the winning the state title. “I thought winning the championship today would be a relief. It’s not though. It couldn’t have ended better, but it’s sad as there will be no practice tomorrow. It was special to win this with my son. I couldn’t be prouder. I’m glad this group got to say they won it on this floor.”
Senior KJ Matte said, “It feels great to win with this group. They’re my team mates and my friends. I’m happy for so many other people like ex-Lebanon players. It’s been great playing with Ryan Milliken. We have made each other better. He has made ridiculous improvement.”
Lebanon finishes their 2 year run with a 43 – 1 record. Ryan Milliken will be playing football at Springfield College in the fall. KJ Matte will play basketball at Bowdoin College. When Lebanon won their last title in 1998 there were 2 members of the 2017 Lebanon team in the UNH gym that day: Coach Keith Matte and his son KJ. Coach Matte was on the coaching staff of Lebanon and his son was 3 months old and in attendance in the stands of UNH.